The plot: Jean Sorel stars as Dr. George Dumurrier, director of a failing medical clinic in San Francisco. When George's wife Susan dies under mysterious circumstances, leaving him beneficiary of a $1 million life insurance policy that will save his business, the insurance company on the hook for the payout places George under surveillance, and soon finds him in the company of Monica Weston, an exotic dancer who looks just like the late Mrs. Dumurrier. Suspecting fraud, the insurance company calls in the police, who come to believe George murdered his wife with Monica's help. As the cops doggedly gather enough evidence to send him to the gas chamber, George and his mistress Jane race to uncover the ties between Monica Weston and Susan Dumurrier.
The good: Alejandro Ulloa's superb cinematography provides an effective showcase for San Francisco circa 1968. Location work in New York and Paris grants the film a richer appearance than it's budget likely warrants. Riz Ortolani's score (included here on a separate CD) is terrific, with a swinging title theme and a poignant love theme that linger in the mind. Marisa Mell gives a witty performance as both the uptight Susan Dumurrier and the swinging Monica Weston. Elsa Martinelli as Jane looks fantastic--those eyes!--and dresses beautifully.
The not-so-good: Though effectively constructed to keep the audience guessing until the end--the last twenty minutes are particularly suspenseful--the plot makes little sense. (Warning: spoilers ahead!) When George, at an impromptu dinner date with his girlfriend, is summoned by an anonymous phone call to his first encounter with Monica, Jane asks him how the caller knew where he was, a question that's never answered. The murder could have been solved by a thorough investigation of Monica, but the police never bother to conduct one. (The film takes place over a year's time, so it's not like they were rushed.) Speaking of the police, the lead investigator makes an odd series of reversals: first he's convinced of George's guilt; then he tries desperately to find evidence to exonerate George; then he shrugs his shoulders and calls it a day. Why all these flip-flops? Beats me, and likely the scenarists as well.
Jean Sorel and Elsa Martinelli are uninvolving leads. Sorel often wears a pained expression that makes him look as though he's uncomfortably trying to pass gas, and the rest of the time appears ready for a nap. He does laugh though, once, which surprised me so much I had to rewind the scene to make sure I heard him right.
With tighter plotting and more compelling leads this could have been quite a gem. As it is, it's a diverting thriller, entertaining but not essential viewing.